Children of Men

Rated 4.0

Set in Britain in the year 2027, Children of Men posits a world in which women have ceased giving birth to children and the great cities of the world are collapsing into chaos. In this story, hope is literally embodied by Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), a young woman who has become pregnant—the first such event in the world in over 18 years—and whose status as an “immigrant” makes her even more an object of contention. The reluctant man of action who takes on the task of protecting her and guiding her to a safe haven is one Theo Faron (Clive Owen), a gloomy bureaucrat who still has twinges of the political idealism that marked his youth. Adapted from a P.D. James novel, the film’s action takes on a kind of zig-zag momentum as it navigates its own darkly fascinating narrative world. It’s an action movie that’s never merely generic, and it’s a dourly futuristic fantasy that never fully abandons itself to allegory and myth on the one hand or to politics and satire on the other. Some bravura filmmaking gives qualities of immediacy and grit that don’t usually find their way into big-budget action fantasies. Director Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azbakan) does the chase scenes in elaborately choreographed long takes and gets an astonishing mixture of poetry and realism out of a childbirth scene shot in a single take full of appositely graceful camera movement.